30 July 1998
Scottish pig farmers losing £15 a head

SCOTTISH pig producers are losing as much as £15 a head on each finished pig, according to Andrew Peddie, convener of the Scottish National Farmers Union pig committee.

Mr Peddie told an emergency meeting at Perth that the market was over-supplied, and hamstrung by a strong Pound and weak seasonal demand. He pointed out that contract prices are slightly better than 80p/kg and the spot market is as low as 60p. He said: “We are worried witless. Some of us will lose our livelihoods and the rest will lose a lot of money.”

Mr Peddie said the problem is the expansion of the national pig herd which has risen to a weekly kill of around 300,000 from 252,000 just two years ago.

John Barron, of the producer group Scotlean, also said the problem was expansion. He said: “If we get a kill of over 280,000 per week the average all-pig price collapses.”

Gordon McKen, managing director of the Grampian Food Group, was critical of the Malton bacon factory in Yorkshire which late in June rescinded contracts with producers. “It has destabilised the market and caused absolute panic and the collapse of the weaner market.”

Arthur Simmers, Scotlands largest producer, advocated a culling scheme to take out half a million pigs next year. He said a voluntary cull is possible by taking out the gilts from every litter at birth.

  • The Scotsman 30/07/98 page 28